The biggest reason why I decided to make LinkLocker is that none of the bookmarking / content hoarding services on the market are really taking their users' privacy seriously. In many ways, privacy is often an afterthought even in the very best case scenarios when it comes to online services, and after several years of wondering when we'd start to see products that were truly concerned about protecting customers and their data, I was really feeling pretty frustrated with the state of things on the Web. If you want anything done, you'd better do it yourself—and so I started to do just that when I began working on this project.
The decision to make a bookmarking service in particular was made for a different, but related reason: putting hyperlinks away for later is probably one of the most fundamental behaviors of Internet users, and yet well-managed bookmarking products don't seem to be as prevalent as one might expect. A lot of this behavior seems to have been subsumed by our desire to dump everything we think and feel onto social media.
Every squinty selfie snapped in the hallway leading to the bowling alley restrooms must be globally disseminated! The Pontiff Himself might be checking out my sweet Spotify playlist of obscure classic dubstep tracks performed by an orchestra of kazoos!
I mean, I certainly hope he's checking it out. Why won't he notice me?
In all seriousness though, maybe the responsibility for stashing content away for later use is in fact not best handled by a company who sells more advertisements every time you Megapoke your FriendyPals. Maybe it's fine not to broadcast everything you read, after all.
I'm feeling pretty fatigued with the whole notion of living my life permanently in public, and I decided to make a bet on the idea that I might not be alone in that feeling. With all of the above in mind (especially my angst about the Pope's feelings), I decided there might very well be a terrific market opportunity for an online service that does a few rather simple things:
- It lets users store links (and useful metadata about those links) behind a simple and comprehensible human interface;
- It lets users keep their stuff to themselves—it doesn't scan the bowels of your mind for advertising opportunities, and it doesn't just leave the doors to your mind wide open to prowlers, creeps, and thieves;
- It's just a place to put stuff, rather than a place to put stuff while casting furtive glances at the Pope behind a coy-yet-paradoxically-exhibitionist guise of socially dictated extroversion.
These goals seem to me at once both worthwhile and imminently attainable. While keeping anything private on the Internet is a giant task, I believe it is possible to do a pretty good job of it if you simply decide to care enough to try. I can't promise that everything will go flawlessly along the way, but I can promise that I deeply care about privacy issues, and that I deeply care about doing whatever I can do on an ongoing basis to get closer and closer to the ideal of keeping your data in a completely bulletproof container.
I think that there are probably enough people in the world who believe in the above things enough to sustain a service like LinkLocker for a long time. It may take a long time to find out whether the bet I am making will pay off, but there is no better time than the present to get started and to see what happens. So let's just get started.